How to Become a Registered Nurse on Cruise Ships

From crewmembers and casino staff to fitness instructors and “hospital” staff, there are so many different types of jobs on cruise ships, that the positions are categorized under several different departments. Positions such as medical staff (doctors, nurses, etc.) are listed in the Personal Care Department. The Personal Care Department also includes spa, fitness, and beauty services. This department is responsible for hiring nurses and physicians as well as hair stylists, manicurists; massage therapists, fitness instructors, beauty therapists, and spa attendants. All members of this department have a common goal – to promote the health and well being of passengers.

Other jobs on cruise ships can be found in the: Activity/Entertainment Department, Deck & Engineering Department, Service & Hospitality Department, and Office Positions.

Registered nurses on cruise ships are held to the same high standards as registered nurses that work in hospitals and clinics. They must complete an accredited bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or nursing program. In addition, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories require licensure. According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination, known as the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license. Other eligibility requirements for licensure vary by State.” You should contact your State’s board of nursing for details.

If you have a degree, licensure, and experience, and you’re ready to begin the application process, think about the type of cruise ship you would like to work on. Do you prefer luxury or budget? Megaship or a smaller ship? Kid-friendly or mostly adults? Once you have decide the type of ship you would like to work on, you should locate the cruise lines’ OFFICIAL website first. Visit the Ships and Cruises Directory for official listings. Once you have located the site, visit the website and search around for job postings. Most cruise line websites have a career center or job postings page.

If the cruise line lists job openings, be sure to follow the application procedures to the letter. Applicants that do not follow directions are typically passed over in favor of those that do. If the cruise line does not list job openings on its site, send a polished cover letter and resume to the cruise lines Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Department is typically located at the cruise lines headquarters. This information is usually listed on the cruise line website. It is important to include the position you are interested in so that it can be directed to the appropriate department manager.

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